'Outlander': The first episode airs early online

The first episode of the TV show 'Outlander,' which is based on Diana Gabaldon's bestselling books, was posted online ahead of its Aug. 9 premiere date.

Starz
'Outlander' stars Caitriona Balfe (l.) and Sam Heughan (r.).

The TV premiere of the adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series is almost here, with the show set to debut on Starz on Aug. 9.

However, some fans may already have seen that first episode of the story of World War II nurse Claire who travels back in time to 18th-century Scotland – Starz made it available online for everyone, not only subscribers, on Aug. 2. Judging from some online reaction, this seems to have been a popular decision, with Sam Maggs of The Mary Sue writing, “Highlanders rejoice!,” while Fashion & Style noted that the move could “draw in curious new viewers as well.”

On appealing to those new viewers, series creator Ron Moore of “Battlestar Galactica” told Variety, “I think it’s just a great story. And I think you’re hooked into Claire and what she’s going through and fascinating things happen to her. There’s reversals and twists of fate and fortune and love and sex and death and war and mystery. So I’m not particularly worried about attracting new viewers. I think if people try it, I think they’ll get hooked and they’ll just keep coming back.”

Meanwhile, Gabaldon chatted with NPR about how she tried to market her books early on, trying to appeal to whoever she was speaking with at the time. “If it was a young woman I'd say, 'Oh, historical romance, men in kilts,'" she said. "If it was a slightly older lady, I'd say, 'Oh, it's historical fiction — if you liked Shogun, you'll love this.' Which is totally true! If it was a young man, I'd say, 'It's fantasy, time travel, things like that: swords.' And if it was an older man, I'd say it was military history.”

Eight episodes of "The Outlander" will air this fall, with eight more episodes scheduled for next year. The total number of episodes involved caught the attention of a friend of Gabaldon, another author whose bestselling novels have also been adapted into a TV show. 

“George [R.R.] Martin [the author of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series] asked me, 'How many episodes are you getting?'" Gabaldon remembered. “And I told him 16. And he said 'What? They only gave me 10!'"

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